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Despite tough road ahead, players remain resolute

CLIPPERS REPORT

March 13, 2007|Jason Reid | Times Staff Writer

SAN ANTONIO — The Clippers have lost three in a row, are among the NBA's worst road teams and face the hot San Antonio Spurs tonight in the first game of a six-game, 10-day trip.

Other than that, things couldn't be better for the Clippers, who despite their problems say they're still capable of qualifying for the postseason.

Of course, they could be wrong.

"We need to stay positive and stay together, we just can't get down, because if we get down that's when you go down the tubes," Corey Maggette said. "But we still do have a chance to make a run. We're still in it."

In part because other teams vying for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Western Conference also have struggled.

"These other teams keep losing so we keep the spot, but we can't count on them to keep losing," Elton Brand said. "We have to take care of our own business, and the only way we can do that is to start playing well and win."

They rarely do against the Spurs.

The Clippers have lost four in a row to San Antonio -- including all three meetings this season by 29, 22 and 14 points -- and eight consecutive in San Antonio. The Spurs are on a season-high 12-game winning streak.

"I'm just continuing to search and push and prod," Clippers Coach Mike Dunleavy said. "I'm trying to get us into a mind-set and into a rhythm to find ourselves. Obviously, the fuse is ticking here."

*

Point guard Shaun Livingston is scheduled to undergo reconstructive surgery on his left knee today in Alabama.

Orthopedic surgeon James Andrews will perform the procedure to repair three of the four key ligaments -- anterior cruciate, posterior cruciate and medial collateral -- a dislocated knee and torn cartilage Livingston, 21, suffered when he landed awkwardly Feb. 26 in a game against the Charlotte Bobcats at Staples Center. Livingston might sit out the 2007-08 season.

*

During the Clippers' three-game losing streak, Chris Kaman is averaging six points, 6.7 rebounds and shooting 41.2% from the field.

Kaman has a salary of almost $3.5 million this season and will earn $8.6 million next season in the first year of a five-year, $52-million contract.

TONIGHT

at San Antonio, 5 PDT, Channel 5

Site -- AT&T Center.

Radio -- 710.

Records -- Clippers 29-33, Spurs 45-18.

Record vs. Spurs -- 0-3.

Update -- Spurs forward Tim Duncan is averaging 20.1 points, 10.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocked shots.

jason.reid@latimes.com

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